Time for police reform continues to be right now

Create a policy for a transparent investigation process due to law enforcement misconduct.

police reformIn the area of police reform, the Minneapolis Police Department is particularly problematic, I’ve discovered. One might not be surprised to find a story in the Boston Globe, from 4 June with the headline. Don’t let labor agreements thwart police accountability. “Union agreements too often prevent police departments from firing officers who act violently or inappropriately. Lawmakers of both parties need to take police discipline out of labor negotiations so that accountability can no longer be used as a bargaining chip.”

Yeah, do you know who else wrote that? The Federalist! And with some chilling details: “In the particular case of George Floyd…: at least two cops should have lost their jobs long before the event even occurred. Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on [George] Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, had previously received 20 complaints filed against him, resulting in two letters of reprimand. His partner, Tou Thao, was sued in 2017 for stopping a man without cause and beating him in the street. In both cases, their contracts protected them.”

Here’s another dreadful piece of the puzzle: “Lt. Bob Kroll, head of Minneapolis’s police union, said that he and a majority of the Minneapolis Police Officers’ Federation’s board have been involved in police shootings. Kroll said that he and the officers on the union’s board were not bothered by the shootings, comparing themselves favorably to other officers. ‘There’s been a big influx of PTSD,’ Kroll said. ‘But I’ve been involved in three shootings myself, and not one of them has bothered me. Maybe I’m different.” Maybe.

So it’s a bit scary when a white man calls cops on black men at Minneapolis WeWork gym, which fortunately did not turn into a dangerous confrontation.

Still, Minneapolis public schools voted to sever their contract with the police. “We want justice for George Floyd, and we know that justice isn’t enough. And now is the time to defund the police and invest in the community.”

Likewise, according to the LA Times: “As protests over police brutality and the death of George Floyd [continued], Los Angeles officials said [June 3] that they will cut $100 million to $150 million from the city’s police budget as part of a broader effort to reinvest more dollars into the local black community.” Here’s what the defund the police movement means.

It’ll be interesting to see if the misunderstood and frankly misleadingly labeled defund movement takes hold, and if so what it will mean.

Perhaps, it’ll be like what Bernie Sanders is pushing for: “civilian corps of unarmed first responders to supplement law enforcement, such as social workers, EMTs, and trained mental health professionals.”

Watch/read this now

If you’re still grappling with what this policing issue is all about, I most highly recommend Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. At the very end is a very eloquent, very angry young black woman talking about Protesters, Looters, Rioters, and the social contract between black people and the police.

The Weekly Sift guy explains How Should American Policing Change?

Surprisingly, in AIER, Donald J. Boudreaux suggests we protest also against police unions and qualified immunity.

New York State

“What we’ve been seeing play out across cities and townships throughout the country [recently] are Americans taking to the streets speaking out to say they’ve had enough of the status quo. Protesters are demanding meaningful systematic and structural changes to address the egregious racial inequities in our justice system and, really, in every facet of our government and society – including in policing, housing, health care, education, and employment, to name a few.”

There’s a list of potential police reform initiatives in the above graphic for New York State. Item #1 is the repeal of New York State’s police secrecy law, Section 50-a, which “hides police misconduct and abuse records from the public.” Retired Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox: “Repealing New York’s 50-a law is a critical step to protect the public safety of all New Yorkers.” It was just passed!

Nationally

On the federal level, there is a bill called the Excessive Force Prevention Act. It was originally introduced in the House by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries which would make police chokeholds illegal under federal civil rights law. [The next bit I purloined from an email.]

National Bail Out is a Black-led and Black-focused organization that works to end the horrific policy of pretrial detention and cash bail that keeps so many people of color in jails and prisons without a conviction, simply for being unable to pay. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, National Bail Out has been working to bail out Black mothers and caregivers—and now to bail out protesters who have been arrested en masse.

Senator Brian Schatz (D–HI) has announced that he will introduce an amendment that will prevent local police forces from getting tear gas, drones, armored vehicles, and high-caliber weapons of war from the military. This important amendment — in addition to initiatives to defund police departments and hold police officers accountable for committing crimes against the public — will help combat systemic police brutality in the U.S.

Contact Congress TODAY to stop police departments from buying weapons of war.

Arming police forces with military weapons doesn’t reduce crime or protect law enforcement officers from violence. In fact, police forces that are equipped with weapons of war are more likely to kill civilians. Even worse, militarized police forces often target Black and minority-majority communities, where getting killed by the police is among the leading causes of death.

Local law enforcement agencies have bought billions of dollars worth of guns, explosives, helicopters, and more from the military. Senator Schatz wants to end this practice by passing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. This important amendment will prevent the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, but only if more members of Congress support it.

Have we had an American Stonewall? “If a politician wants to exercise real leadership, let them proclaim a day of healing where they lead a march of police and protesters together in support of a new era in police relations.” OR you can go the other way, with heavily armed men who refuse to identify themselves patrolling the streets of Washington, DC, sent by the Bureau of Prisons.

The other three

After Nearly 10,000 Arrested During Week of Protest, Three Other Police Officers Finally Charged Over Murder of George Floyd. “All you had to do was arrest three more.” “All four police officers involved in George Floyd’s death are now facing criminal charges. Until now the only one charged was Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd down with his knee on his neck. Minnesota’s AG announced he’s facing second-degree murder charges, updated from third-degree charges (which carry a shorter sentence). The three other officers – Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng – were charged with aiding and abetting murder. But recent news could escalate tensions.”

People have asked me, “What can I do?” Find whatever initiatives on policing that have been undoubtedly been kicking around your locality or state for years and let your representatives know you support police reform.

F is for fascists, white supremacists & other thugs

“God” Responds To White Supremacist Terrorists

The oddest political statement this weekend may have come from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday. He said he’s not entirely sure why white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other groups feel DJT is sympathetic to their cause, that “they believe they have a friend in Donald Trump.”

The mayor of Charlottesville, VA knows why: There is a “direct line” between how President Donald Trump’s campaign played on the nation’s “worst prejudices” and the rioting that ended in the deaths of three people in his city, plus lots of other violence, Mayor Mike Signer said Sunday. “Look at the campaign he ran,” Signer told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I mean, look at the intentional courting, both on the one hand of all these white supremacists, white nationalists, a group like that, anti-Semitic groups, and then look on the other hand the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence… put to bed all those different efforts, just like we saw [Saturday].”

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke knows why: At the start of “Unite the Right” rally kicked off in Charlottesville, Virginia, Duke said the gathering of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and far-right individuals pointed to a future fulfillment of Trump’s “promises.” For instance, when he picked Steve Bannon, who had been executive chair of “Breitbart News, a far-right news, opinion, and commentary website,” to participate in his campaign and then become his White House chief strategist.

Graham urged the Donald to immediately condemn the hate groups. “They are enemies of freedom,” but DJT “missed an opportunity” in his comments Saturday to disavow any relationship with racist organizations.

Or as John Oliver coarsely put it, ‘Idiot’ Trump Managed To Screw Up Disavowing Nazis. “Nazis are a lot like cats. If they like you, it’s probably because you’re feeding them.” Yet, DJT was able to lash out at an African-American C.E.O. who quit an advisory panel over the response to Charlottesville.

Meanwhile, several Republicans, including Orrin Hatch, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and even First Daughter Ivanka Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, had strongly denounced the white supremacists and their allies, as did the chancellor of Germany. The “evil attack” by a driver on a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville was domestic terrorism, the attorney general said.

When the White House offered its weak tea rejection of the Nazis and their allies, Duke warned Trump, “Remember it was white Americans who put you in the presidency.” Trump did eventually recite something, too little and too late.

I understand that we need to talk to each other, but what does one say to someone at the rally so utterly oblivious to his xenophobia? These are people who fancy themselves the victims of the so-called politically correct assault on American democracy, “a false narrative that helped propel Mr. Trump to victory. Each feeds on the same demented lies about race and justice that corrupt true democracy and erode real liberty.”

Here a map of hate groups in the United States. It is mourning in America. “God” Responds To White Supremacist Terrorists.

June rambling #3: Macca and Brian Wilson are 75

Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries


Plastic pollution in Antarctica 5 times worse than expected

America’s Amazon Problem

Are You The Husband Or The Wife?

“The good advice my mom gave me that I still don’t like” published in The Lily by Margaret Sullivan

Rachel Maddow: The Rolling Stone Interview

Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries

Political Violence is Our Issue Too

Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault

Russian official linked to South Florida biker club spent millions on Trump condos

What, He worry?

John Oliver blasts ‘human megaphone’ for the anti-vaccine movement

Power Causes Brain Damage Over Time, leaders lose mental capacities—most notably for reading other people—that were essential to their rise

The Daily Show presents: THE DONALD J. TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TWITTER LIBRARY

Nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office

The Racist History of America’s Chinese Restaurant Boom

vlogbrothers: Cheyenne, Wyoming

The length of a dog’s memory

Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)

Comedian Bill Dana, Who Played the Character Jose Jimenez, Dies at 92. He penned one of the funniest ‘All in the Family’ episodes. Plus the TV Academy has put together a very nice page about Bill Dana

Stephen Furst, who I watched on St. Elsewhere, died at the age of 63. Film director Kevin Smith wrote: “As an awkward round kid, Flounder was the Delta I most identified with in #AnimalHouse, my fave comedy.”

Speaking of Smith, he and TV writer Ken Levine do a podcast crossover, first on Smith’s here, then Levine’s here and here

What Play Finally Brought Tim and Tyne Daly Together Onstage?

Ace magician Misty Lee creates her new show

Leptospirosis Death Warning Hoax – Rat Urine on Soda Can Top

How To Make A Bedtime Snack

KFC to launch fried chicken sandwich into space

The redesigned Names.org offers origins, statistics and popularity rankings for people names. Users can search and compare the most popular names, find trending names and review various list of names by origin, region decade and more

Stop Sending Me Chain Letters Because They Can Be Dangerous! Also, VERY annoying

Arthur mentions unmentionables

Now I Know: The People Who Can’t Take Socks For Granted and China’s Extremely Personal Loans and Why Parisian Bakers Can’t Always Go On Vacation and The Hamburger on Display in a Canadian Legislature

How do they make cake sprinkles?

MUSIC

The Impressions – Gypsy Woman (1961)

Highway Tune – Greta Van Fleet

With A Little Help From My Friends – The Gibson Brothers Bluegrass

Surf’s Up – The Beach Boys

Coverville 1175: 75th Birthday Celebrations for Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson

Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 – Elgar

Tunes from c 1987

Musicians Look Back on the Albums They Don’t Remember Recording

You Can’t Do That! Making Of A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (1995)

Steve Earle: ‘My wife left me for a younger, skinnier, less talented singer’

Pet Sounds v. Sgt. Pepper

Mandated Workplace Violence training

For the next two days, it was all we talked about; if that were the intent, it worked.

workplace-violenceAll of us SUNY Central employees were required to register for, and attend, a 90-minute Workplace Violence training session back in August.

“In accordance with NYS Law, SUNY System Administration has implemented required/mandatory Workplace Violence training to help ensure a safe working environment. This training extends to all employees who work within our System Administration locations, inclusive of our Research Foundation and Construction Fund colleagues.

“Even in the absence of any identified risk, employees should be knowledgeable about measures they can take to protect themselves in the workplace. Learn how to:

• Identify Risk Factors
• Prevent Workplace Violence Incidents
• Enhance Personal Safety
• Increase Survivability in Critical Incidents

“Be a part of our pro-active preventative approach to keeping the SUNY community safe!”

I had the idea that the workshop would spend more time diffusing a potentially volatile workplace situation. There was lip service about recognizing someone in a workplace situation who might be “ready to blow.” But it wasn’t the primary focus.

Instead, it was a lot about how you might live if an active shooter situation. There was a lot about flight or fight – flee if can, fight if getting away or hiding is not an option.

The speaker managed to namecheck all sorts of mass shootings, from the school kids and educators in Newtown, CT, to the assassination attempt on Gabby Giffords in an Arizona strip mall that left six dead and the Congresswoman gravely wounded to the shooting in Binghamton, NY that killed 13. But there were a whole lot that you never heard about.

The takeaway, my colleagues all agreed, is where the heck would you hide, or run to, if you had to? Those folks with doors were subsequently issued door stops, but those with partial glass walls were less than comforted by this.

As someone with no office door, where I would run would to would depend on what direction the disturbance was coming from. The offices are in one big circle, and I am near the diameter.

For the next two days, it was all we talked about; if that were the intent, it worked. But it mostly made me depressed as hell.

Ringo Starr and “peace and love”

Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence,

spiderThe birthday of Ringo Starr is July 7. And for his birthday, Ringo wants us all to to flash the peace sign and say the words “peace and love” at noon in whatever time zone you’re in.

In 2005, on that date, there were the horrific London bombings.

In 2016, on that date, there were the horrific shooting of police in Dallas, TX apparently by a lone gunman, an Army veteran.

OBVIOUSLY, this “peace and love” stuff is not working. Continue reading “Ringo Starr and “peace and love””